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Strategies to develop your top talent

Archive for the ‘Business Results’ Category

We have looked before at best practices in developing top talent.

Sometimes, we need to also admit and learn from the mistakes that have cost us the most (and in many cases are still costing us).

In their HBR article, Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt give us more to ponder about these six mistakes.

Mistake 1: Assuming That High Potentials Are Highly Engaged

Let’s begin by talking truth about your bright stars.  

Why is the picture so negative?  Rising stars are young, talented and usually know it.  Their gigantic personal expectations are matched with lots of alternatives. (more…)
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Recruit and develop talent

A recent article put out by Gallup had some interesting things to say about how talent–and the way companies manage it–separates top performing companies from the rest.

Here’s the bottom line about companies that lead in growth: they have a relentless focus on talent. It is intentional and the executives who lead these companies have created systems that nurture it.

Here are the five elements singled out as success components.

1. A succession plan that works

2. An audit of your talent pool

3. Raising the bar in recruiting and hiring

4. Breakthrough experiences for high-potential managers and leaders

5. Ongoing development, engagement, and performance management

The Gallup research behind these findings is pretty compelling.  If you want to read more, go here.

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Is employee training-at the enterprise level-an expense or a benefit?

It is very illuminating to look at how different organizations view what they spend on employee training.  At the highest level, training usually gets accounted for as a type of payroll expense or an employee benefit.  Some forms of training are certainly that (tuition reimbursement comes to mind).  Other companies count training as a cost of doing business, especially if they operate in an industry where safety and/or regulatory compliance are important parts of the business.

Apart from how CFO’s might count or classify training, it’s even more instructive to look at how the top leaders of an organizations think about, plan for and implement training as part of enabling the success of their business plans.  Those that do regard training this way are likely to see it as an essential business investment.  Those who don’t are more likely to see training as a perk or optional benefit that they can afford when there is extra cash.

The basic way that the leaders of a business view training comes through in their discussions and decisions, especially around planning and budget time.

However you view it, it’s worth examining your assumptions and actions about how valuable training is for the overall organization.

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Top talent in China

Companies doing business in China face several challenges today.*  On the macro level they face the ongoing global financial instability, questionable consumer demand for their goods (especially in export markets), price pressure from competitors, and the uncertainties of government policy.  Weighing these factors, the dynamic market in China is still a vibrant place to do business today.

That presents its own problems.  Because the market is growing and the activity level is high, there is plenty of competition among companies for scarce resources.  Attracting and retaining talent in the form of qualified employees and managers is a top concern.  Maintaining morale and high productivity is clearly another.  (more…)

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Strategy-driven organizations

“We’re so busy putting out fires and trying to keep the business going that strategy just doesn’t show up on the screen.  We seem to drift a lot,” one leader confided in me.  I could relate because I’ve been part of an organization that couldn’t maintain a strategic focus.   We had flavor-of-the-month and reliably we would worry over sales each quarter, but strategy never got consistent attention.

The lack of strategic focus is a leadership issue, even when the leaders of an organization “live and breathe” strategy or see themselves as very strategic (but you might be surprised how many don’t).  Such organizations also find it difficult to hang on to their talent for long. (more…)

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Question:  What are the three critical numbers you use to manage your business?  As a leader, what’s your backup system (or at least your plan) when the game suddenly changes?


I’ll get to that question in a minute, but first let me share a personal story.  I continue to be surprised by some of the misconceptions that people have about flying.  This past weekend I was in a conversation with a man who had a friend that was a pilot of a small plane.  This man’s friend took off on a trip cross country and not too far along he had an instrument failure.  (more…)

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talent-money-gameAbout a year ago we looked at Wall Street’s approach to retaining top talent through outsized compensation packages.  Consider this the latest installment in that saga.  The most recent news is that CEO and C-level executive compensation took a large cut last year, while the traders and money managers received the largest collective payout in history.   The bosses took the bullet (public outcry, congressional hearings, pay czar scrutiny, etc.) in order to keep the restive troops from jumping ship.

CEO pay at 18 financial companies was down 30%.  No surprises there–they are under lots of pressure from the public and the media.  At the same time, 38 financial service firms on Wall Street paid a collective $140 billion in compensation and benefits, a record number, and up from $123 billion in 2008 and the previous high-water mark of $137 billion in 2007.  What does this all tell us? (more…)

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leadskill-website

Do you know how hard your online employees are working?  Did you say you don’t have any employees?  If you have a website, blog, Facebook page, eBay store or any other kind of online commercial presence, I suggest you do have online employees, and it would be in your interest to think of them that way.

I was coaching another consultant today who does not have a website but who said she wanted one and knew she needed one.  She’s not super-savvy on web technology, nor does she care to be.  I suggested that she think of building a website/blog as if she were hiring an employee.  Here’s how the logic works… (more…)

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The year ahead – 2010

2010

We start a new year and it’s a great opportunity to do some personal strategic planning.  Well-run companies and organizations take time annually to plan strategically for the future and to set their course of action.  Why not give yourself the same advantage?

I wrote a guidebook to help in the process of personal strategic planning that is available for the asking.  Send an email or request it from me directly and post a comment about how you’re using it.

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Making change stick

McKinsey published an interesting paper earlier this year titled ‘The Irrational Side of Change Management’

It provides insight about traditional approaches to change management and how success or failure is is determined by execution and practical implementation of the approaches.  Organizational change requires the following four conditions for change:
  • a compelling story
  • role modeling
  • reinforcing mechanisms
  • capability building
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